Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the good progress made toward getting President Biden’s Build Back Better plan over the finish line. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Now last week, President Biden unveiled a framework for his Build Back Better Plan that will make historic investments to help millions of working and middle class families achieve the American Dream in the 21st century, while taking new and bold steps to tackle the climate crisis.
Over the weekend, I continued diligent, assiduous negotiations with my Senate colleagues, the Speaker, and the White House as Congress prepares to take action on the President’s proposals. We are still talking and working through important details and making good progress, and I want to thank all my colleagues for their diligence, their expertise, and their commitment to getting something done.
As I have always said, nobody is going to get everything they want in the deal, but it will have some things that everyone wants. Even as legislative text continues to get finalized, the framework itself already contains very, very good and important things that will make a tremendous difference in the lives of the American people.
It will help the middle class stay in the middle class. It will help those struggling to get to the middle class get there a little more easily. It will really help Americans in ways that Washington has not helped Americans in quite a few years.
One way it will help is child care. Tens of millions of American families struggle with the unaffordable costs of taking care of their children. For some families, child care can cost over $10,000 a year, forcing parents to make the painful choice between going to work and looking after their kids.
The consequences for our economy, with its shortage of workers, for parents, and for our kids are severe and long-lasting.
The framework—with its historic investments in child care and Universal Pre-K—would finally, finally, provide working and middle class families with the urgently needed help they need so parents – particularly women – can enter the workplace, earn a living, and not worry about whether their kids are taken care of.
The President’s framework also makes long-overdue progress in the fight against climate change: it contains the largest investment to address the climate crisis in American history.
American families from one coast to the other are in desperate need of relief from the consequences of climate change. Wildfires in the West make it harder for people to breathe, especially those with conditions like asthma. Flooding in the Midwest destroys crops and homes and local economies, and poisons fragile ecosystems and even the safety of drinking water. Extreme storms in the winter make it harder for those without proper heating to stay safe, as we saw tragically in Texas. And of course the hurricanes and tropical storms on the east coast have caused regular flooding, the likes of which we haven't seen in a long time, occurring as recently in the Mid-Atlantic this weekend.
So we have an opportunity – a real opportunity – to take unprecedented action to protect Americans against these threats, and while there will still be so much more to do, this is a bold step in the right direction. As the President spoke before the world today in Glasgow, his framework is proof that the United States is ready to once again lead by example against the greatest existential crisis of our time.
There’s so much more to like in this framework: as I have said repeatedly, when this bill is passed it will be fully paid for and reduce – reduce – inflationary pressures, something that has been affirmed by many, many economists. It will be fully paid for and at the same time reduce some of the bottlenecks and high costs that people have.
It will lower people’s costs in many ways—and, particularly, we are making regular progress to lower prescription drug prices as we work to refine the agreement.
The framework will also make health care more affordable, cut taxes for working and middle class Americans, and most importantly, provide long-sought ladders for families to climb up to the middle class, and give them the stability needed to stay the middle class once they get there. It will lower costs for people in many different ways, one of our main goals. This will be just what the American people need, and will not be – will not be – inflationary.
So the announcement last week from the President brought us one step closer towards our goal of delivering help to the American people at every stage of their life.
We are going to keep working this week to get this legislation over the finish line. Democrats are committed to rewarding the trust that the American people have placed in us.